Wednesday, September 22, 2010

From the kettle to the kettles.. my first (of the season) Broad-winged hawk sighting in Veracruz

The date: September 20th
Location: Tamalinillo, Veracruz Mexico
Hurricane Karl left us with a lot of moisture here in Veracruz.

The rains ceased on the 20th, the heat and humidity was crazy. The small rural community of Tamalinillo Veracruz was preparing for the festival of Saint Matthew. Early in the morning on the 20th a hog was butchered, by the time I got up the fire was going strong with a big kettle of boiling lard.
 The pork fat and rinds were cooked up first and later, meat was added until all was cooked.

You take this fried pork (while its still hot) and chop it up a bit with a knife put a couple of chunks on a fresh corn tortilla add some home made salsa,  and you have some fine dining. Wash down five or six of these tacos with some cold Tecates and life is indeed good!
I had just finished eating, it was about 2pm and I spot some movement in the sky to the other side of the valley....a "kettle" of Broad-winged hawks - Buteo platypterus. These are my first BW's of this season here in Veracruz. I feel the rush of adrenaline as a race to get the camera. Below is a view of the hawks in a thermal or "kettle". A "kettle" is a column of rising warm air, when the raptors enter the column of rising warm air they soar in spirals to gain altitude to continue their migration. This soaring spiral of hawks, in great numbers, gives the effect of water boiling in a kettle. 

Here is another view as the Broad-winged hawks as they leave the "kettle". The wing shape changes to glide and the appearance is one of uniformity, another name for this gliding flight pattern is called a "stream" or a "line".

I counted approximately 1,800 Broad-winged hawks in about an hour.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Their coming.... & and you know you are a hawkwatcher when....

I love to open my e-mail and see all the reports from the hawkwatch sites from around the country [BIRDHAWK]
 The hawks are on their way! I can feel the excitement building as the hundreds of hawk-watch sites throughout the country post their numbers and observations.

With all of the recent rains here in Veracruz things have slowed down a bit. In the next few days we will begin to see more activity.
As a side note I have been working hard on practical ecology/conservation based project to thwart the continued de-forestation here in Mexico. I has to do with an improved strain of pasture grass that is 3 to 4 times as effective as normal pasture growth... I will be making posts here in the very near future with more details.
It's still no to late to sign up for the three dates for the hawk watch/birding tours. I would love to have more people here to experience the worlds most concentrated raptor migrations.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

34,000 + Mississippi Kites - MK counted Sept.8th in Veracruz Mexico

The migration continues. Yesterday over 34,000 Mississippi Kites MK were counted in Veracruz. With a total of 236,000 MK counted thus far in 2010 (source Hawkcount.Org)  Mississippi kites are graceful in flight and can often be seen grabbing a dragonfly for a  in flight snack. Once again I am extending an invitation to all to "come on down" and experience the Veracruz bird of prey migrations first hand.
Eyes to the sky,

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

When I grow up I wanna be a Peregrine Falcon....ohhh yeaah!

When you're standing on a ridge and a migrating Peregrine falcon -Falco peregrinus comes by in full "glide" and you can manage to get a pic, thats good...real good. Join the party...there's a HAWK WATCH goin on!

Posted via email from veracruzhawkwatch

Friday, September 03, 2010

Raptor migrations off to a good start........

Greetings from Cerro Azul, Veracruz. This is shaping up to be one of the best hawk watch seasons ever! Sept. 3.... and as far as observations of migrating raptors I am not in the optimum location at the moment. (38 kilometers inland from the gulf of Mexico in Northern Veracruz) Thus far nothing great in the raptor migration sitings ( 1 HK -Hooked-billed Kite and about 70 MK - Mississippi Kites, mostly juvies.) The movements are passing closer to the gulf and out of my range of view. Thanks to HAWKCOUNT.ORG I am able to get my daily  raptor "fix" with  the help of the Corpus Christi Gang (Libby, Dane, Kevin,Patti, Bill.....and all the rest) 
 to the North.
To the South,"River of Raptors Veracruz"  aka Hawk-watch Mecca (mecca n. A place that is regarded as the center of an activity or interest.)

I send "saludos y tequilazos" to the hardworking  River of Raptors team in Cardel y Chichicaxtle
Habacuc, Rigo, Citlali, Irving,James, Oscar, Rene, Roberto y Otros PRONATURA 
Here is a data summary as of Sept.2:Corpus Christi 
Data summary for Veracruz ROR Sept2: River of Raptors

Torrential rains to the south in Veracruz with many flooded communities including "my beloved" Tlacotalpan. FLOOD 2010  
My best wishes for ALL
All for the well and remember "eyes to the sky" and "solo Vera Cruz es bello"
David McCauley